I want to go back to Osaka!

Japan’s favourite PJs, the yukata.

The moment I entered my hotel room, I couldn’t help but notice how everything was built for short people. The height of the bed barely reached my knee, the chair was considerably lower than average, the mirror couldn’t be used without bending my knees and so on. I believe it has something to do with the age of my hotel, as the Japanese population nowadays is considerably taller.

My hotel room.

The hotel was nothing to shout about, it’s got a funny smell to it, as if the room had been bleached for hundreds of times. However, I was very comfortable as anything beyond air conditioning and hot water shower is considered luxury to me.

After a quick nap, I ventured out for lunch. I was determined to eat authentic Japanese food. No Chinatown bullshit and all that. After walking for a bit, finally stumbled onto this restaurant that specialises in katsudon. I had the house special at 500 yen and I have to say it’s the best money I’d spent in Japan. The deep fried pork chop was succulent on the inside and crispy on the outside. Soaked in miso gravy and topped with a freshly cracked egg, it was served with a bowl of rice. The looks of katsudon left nothing to be desired but the dish really titillated my tastebuds. I devoured every single grain of rice with it.

Katsudon. Deep fried pork chop soaked in miso sauce with egg. OMG I’m missing it already!

After lunch, it was time for a bit of shopping. I decided to go to Namba, the shopping and entertainment district of Osaka. It’s 30 minutes walking distance from my hotel but I thought taking the train would be way more fun. I went to Uehonmachi Station, which was just right smacked next to my hotel.

Stepping into a train station in Japan was quite a nerve racking experience. Firstly, there was little information in english. Using a small and skanky photostated map (with bad english) courtesy of the hotel, I managed to make out which station to go. Secondly, the names of the stations are just too long. I suggest that you jot down the exact name of the station you’re going to and coming back if you’re not proficient in Japanese. Thirdly, there were so many people! They are well-behaved though. I suppose you could call it controlled chaos, but it’s quite a scary sight for a laidback Malaysian like me.

Train ticketing machine.

The ticketing machine has english labels so it’s fairly easy to use. The cost of ticket from Uehonmachi to Namba is 150 yen.

Uehommachi Station.

Waiting for the train….

Inside the train.

Namba Station is only 2 stops away from Uehonmachi Station. I was very relieved when I saw the Namba Station’s signboard as I had this nagging feeling that I would get lost in the humongous network of train stations. Turned out it was only stupid paranoia.

Namba is only a couple of steps away from the station…

Entering the centre of consumerism.

Namba1ban. Cheesy but quite clever. It’s a pachinko parlour.

Inside the pachinko parlour. The game that destroyed one too many families -_-

There are many famous landmarks in Namba.

Dotonbori Street. A popular street lined with restaurants, shops and entertainment centres. Very, very colourful.

Posing with Kuidaore Taro.

Ebisubashi Bridge. Notice the weird looking Ferris Wheel?

Ebisubashi Bridge has very interesting stories to it.

….lacking someone to imitate gaijin MVP Randy Bass, the rabid crowd seized the Colonel Sanders statue from a nearby KFC, and tossed it off the bridge as an effigy. This impulsive maneuver was to cost the team greatly, beginning the Curse of the Colonel. Legend has it that the Tigers will not win the championship again, until the statue is recovered. Attempts have been made, including sending divers down and dredging the river, but so far the statue remains in the murky depths and the Tigers cursed.

In 2003, the Tigers won the qualifying Central Tournament, and fans figured this was good enough. Over 5,300 fans repeated the plunge into the canal. However, for 24-year old Masaya Shitababa it was a tragedy. He drowned in the canal, with all reports being that he had been shoved in by the revelers.

Source: Wikipedia

Another section of Ebisubashi Bridge. It’s under construction, probably in an effort to deter happy jumpers.

Japanese schoolgirls.

The infamous Glico Man!

Just for you, bitch.

Many people in Osaka use bicycles as means of transportation. I wish Malaysia were cooler, cause I definitely wouldn’t mind cycling around.

Rows and rows and rows of bicycles.

And then it was dinner time…

Dinner time at a sushi restaurant.

Freshly hand-made sushis.

My top favourite salmon sashimi!

My sushi chef.

If you’re going to Osaka, watch out for 100 Yen shops. Yes, everything’s sold at 100 yen (105 yen including tax). These shops are everywhere and you just have to look out for them. It’s really a joy to shop, they’re not unlike our RM2.99 shops, but the products have way better quality. They sell things from cosmetics to kitchen utensils to underwear to food. Lovely! (Please refrain from buying fakeplan Pokka Pokka sticks though…they taste like mouldy cardboards)

Osaka is one of the most interesting places I’ve ever visited. It’s like being in another dimension, very surreal. The people, the food, the ambiance, the billboards, the toilets…they belong to another level of reality. I’d love to go back one day, to experience it all over again.

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